We’ve rummaged around in the stats from the weekend’s Premier League action to see what stood out. This week we’ve seen a couple of the division’s star attackers in fine form, the dawn of a promising new era at Selhurst Park and a potentially terminal case of travel sickness.
With a hand in all three of Arsenal’s goals against Stoke on Sunday, Alexis Sanchez has now been directly involved in more Premier League goals than anybody else this season. Having netted 12 himself and set up seven more in an increasingly triumphant first season in the English top flight, there are times when the Chile international appears to be single-handedly dragging Arsenal forward.
While many expected the £28 million signing of Romelu Lukaku to be key to Everton’s attacking prospects this season, their fortunes have depended just as much on a man who didn’t cost them a penny. Steven Naismith popped up to earn the Toffees a point against Manchester City on Saturday – the third equaliser he’s netted – and they’ve looked a much more dangerous proposition with him on the pitch, scoring almost twice as regularly.
When Dusan Tadic finally broke the deadlock at Old Trafford on Sunday – with what turned out to be the game’s only shot on target – it was always likely to be the last word. Loosening Southampton’s grip on a lead has been almost impossible this season, with the Saints having dropped a smaller share of possible points than anyone else after going ahead: only two from 39.
Alan Pardew announced his return to Crystal Palace in style, overseeing a dominant attacking display from a side hardly renowned for them. The Eagles created a total of 21 chances: four more than the most they’d managed prior to Pardew’s arrival and the second most that visitors Tottenham have faced in a league game this season. Was the right sort of motivation all that Palace’s players needed?
After drawing a fifth blank in six matches and registering seven fewer goals than any other Premier League club this season, it’s clear that something’s not working for Aston Villa. Failure to score against bottom side Leicester was just the latest setback for manager Paul Lambert, who oversees the most wasteful attack in the division and admitted after the game that creative reinforcements will be needed to save Villa’s season.
A 10th away defeat from 10 outings saw QPR drop back into the relegation zone, increasing the pressure on boss Harry Redknapp and undermining their surprisingly good home record. No team in the bottom half can match their five home wins and the Hoops’ defence has actually been the division’s fifth most resilient on home soil, but they’ve conceded more readily than any other side on the road.